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Is overclocking worth it?

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a b U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 7:38:11 AM

I've never overclocked any computer component for 2 reasons - I don't know how and I don't know if it's worth it, even for a small amount (like going from 3.2 GHz to 3.3 GHz). I'm just wondering if overclocking is worth it.

What are the benefits of overclocking, besides a faster speed?
What are the downsides of overclocking, besides greater heat generation and energy usage?
Does overclocking void the warranty of the processor, video card, RAM, etc., even if a small boost is made (like less than 10% as opposed to the even 40 or 50% boosts I sometimes see in product reviews)?
Is overclocking even legal?
In general, is overclocking worth the risk?

I see on Newegg very often for reviews about those wanting to overclock processors and video cards, sometimes RAM but often can't or take it to an extreme (50% more than the defaults). Thanks for any insight.

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July 15, 2011 8:45:22 AM

If you get a chip with an unlocked multiplier (signified by a succeeding 'X' with Intel, or a 'Black Edition' AMD) you don't have to worry about the timing of everything else. No memory, chipset, or frequency issues when adjusting the multiplier. In addition to the multiplier being simply easy to adjust, it doesn't have the heat and power issues you are referring to. Those happen quickly when messing with the frequency. Also, all of the first generation i7's came with an unlocked multiplier.

Overclocking is legal. The companies warn you that they aren't liable if you break your stuff, but basically do what you want with it. You bought it. You can see a significant bonus from a "safe" overclock in gaming (if your gpu is being held back by your cpu) or in productivity.

The downsides are: First; it's kind of addictive. Second; if you clock to high you can irreparably damage your processor. Third, the higher the stable clock (which isn't hard to find, don't get scared by this paragraph) the shorter your cpu lifespan will be. Think of it as a beating heart. If your heart normally beats at 60bpm and you live to 75, when you speed your heart up to 80bpm, you have more energy, but now your lifespan is is 60 years. In cpu terms, your cpu could last 10 years. In ten years, it will be terribly outdated, so don't worry about the longevity. If you plan to keep your cpu for 5+ years, I would say: don't overclock. If you think that between 2-3 years you might want the fastest, latest, and greatest cpu, go with a safe overclock.

Best place to start is read this:
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/259899-11-core-over...
http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/page-245679_11_0.ht...

I skipped your (Intel Core 2 Duo 3.16 GHz Wolfdale E8500 LGA 775 CPU) processor generation, so I'm unsure if you can change the multiplier. Even if you can't, you can still overclock, it's much more difficult though and the results won't be as spectacular as changing a number and watching your cpu go from 3Ghz to 4Ghz in a second.
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July 15, 2011 8:54:37 AM

You could simply upgrade your processor. Your info shows you're into games and recently most games are at least threaded for three cores. You don't need the fastest CPU to game, simply one that doesn't hold back your GPU. Upgrading to a Qxxxx series will provide you with all of the power and cores you desire. I see new threads regularly about how happy people are with their Q6600.
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a b U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 9:44:36 AM

I play console games, not computer games. I play console games on my computer though via a TV tuner, but that's not CPU demanding (the console system uses its own CPU and GPU in this case). I also play old games where my CPU and GPU aren't a problem (the newest I have is either Final Fantasy 12 or Disgaea 2, games that are 5 years old). Even the game I'm making on my computer could very well run quite nicely on hardware that's 6 years old. I'm looking into getting the i7-2600K processor primarily for faster video processing, considering I do a lot of video processing.

From looking at those guides, overclocking seems very confusing. There seems to be so much to adjust. I can't tell what the FSB of either my target motherboard or processor are though that I'll be getting in the very near future. For your reference, they are:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - RAM
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - most likely CPU

All my other hardware will remain the same. Thanks though for the very useful response.

As a side, but related note, I've also heard of underclocking, the reverse of overclocking. Although this would slow the system down and reduce heat/energy usage, is underclocking worth it?
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a c 197 K Overclocking
a b U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 1:39:01 PM

I looked at your configuration. If you were to try to overclock, about the best you can expect is about a 10% increase in speed with your system. The G31/G41 is an economy chipset with an upward limit of about 360 MHz on the FSB. The chips work pretty well with slower FSB's (more headroom from the stock FSB).

They will also work pretty good with the quad core CPU's at stock speeds. The onboard power regulators on the G'byte boards really are not good enough to suport overclocking with the quad cores.

I have 3 GA-G41-ES2L's, one a T model using DDR3 RAM. One is on permanent loan to sis-in-law. It running at stock speeds. The other two are running about 25% overclocked. They are in home office systems so the moderate overclock is good enough.

About the only real use for underclocking is for an HTPC to reduce heat and therefore lower the thermal load to help make a quieter system. You really do not need that much power to move video for a hard drive to a TV screen.
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a c 100 K Overclocking
a c 125 U Graphics card
July 15, 2011 3:13:40 PM

True enough jsc, although if he goes with a 2600k, it's easy to get another 1000+mhz out of it which shows improvements. Although, in terms of video encoding, getting a Z68 chipset will allow you to use Quick Sync which makes video encoding go faster than anything else I've ever seen. Example:

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a b K Overclocking
July 15, 2011 4:24:49 PM

@ joshyboy82

Quote:
In addition to the multiplier being simply easy to adjust, it doesn't have the heat and power issues you are referring to. Those happen quickly when messing with the frequency. Also, all of the first generation i7's came with an unlocked multiplier.


You of all people should know that when you OC you generate more heat, irregardless of which method you use. That is why you are using an "Asetek 550LC" water cooling system on your CPU that is OC'd to 3.9 GHz. I'll bet you had to raise your Vc to make that stable, which alone will heat things up even if you do not OC. :non: 

I do realize you are just trying to help the OP but give factual information.

@ ulillillia

jsc gave you some very good info with what you have.

I OC to have better performance in gaming. Just so happens that if you have a good gaming PC then it will tend to do other, not all, tasks better than if stock.

IMO there is no down side to OC'n if done well and you bought components designed to do that. Mind you that is my opinion, others will certainley have other thoughts on this subject that work just fine for their needs.

If you OC you are putting more stress on your hardware. That being said, I buy components that are designed to take more stress to achieve my OC'n goals. I have a Q9550 system I bought in '08 with OC'n in mind from the start. It normally runs OC'd @ 3.83 GHz W/C'd but I did push it once just to see what I could get from it. I also need to mention that the parts for that PC at that time cost me almost $3,000.00. You do not have to spend nearly that much now adays to have a powerful PC.

Hard question about warranty of parts. Ram usually has a life time warranty, CPU 3 yrs and M/BD 1 - 3 yrs. I have had good luck with having M/Bs and Ram replaced under warranty. I have not had a CPU replacement yet but generally if they went bad from being over-volted the MFG may not replace it. I have heard of others that could not get a replacement because they did not use the stock HSF unit (Intel). Meaning that they just went on and put an after market cooling solution on their CPU. I always use the stock HSF unit to test the CPU @ stock speeds before replacing it with an after market unit to OC with.

Is it legal? Heck, yes! However, just like auto racing you need more knowledge and quality components to get the job done competently.

IMO OC'n is definitely worth the risks. Your best asset in this arena is knowledge of that which you are about to undertake.

Most 24/7 OC's are less than 50% but there are exceptions. Those exceptions have lots of knowledge about what they are doing.

Happy OC'n to you. :sol: 

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July 15, 2011 9:40:53 PM

I did not mean to say that no additional (to normal) heat was generated. I meant to say that increasing the clock multiplier is safer than increasing the timing, because one only adjusts the ratio, while the other speeds up everything (except the multiplier), requiring a raised voltage, all which generate more heat.

I did not adjust the voltage on processor. It is running at stock.

My actual overclock is 3.88Ghz. I rounded up because of the eight and to shorten writing it. I merely raised my clock ratio to 24x and my BCLK frequency to 162Mhz. Turbo boost is still enabled, though I doubt it gets used.

To be honest OP, I'd probably be freaked out too if I had to adjust all of those parts. I've been thinking about lowering the latency on my memory, but haven't worked up the nerve to try that. Maybe when I move up to better memory, I'll 'practice' on my old memory, that way if I break it, it won't mean much.
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a b U Graphics card
July 16, 2011 12:42:27 AM

References to my current setup (with the core 2 duo) are not going to do any good because, in about 5 to 8 days, chances are, I won't have this setup any more.

What do you mean by a Z68 board? Does the 2600K have quick sync? If anyone has a 2600K, what is the processing rate for video encoding? Times don't mean anything because it depends on the complexity of the video, the video size (resolution), and also the duration. It doesn't seem like it from Newegg. Just for your reference, the processor alone is already pushing it as far as budget goes. I'm only able to get it because I have other computer components (from my previous Pentium 4 system) that I can sell on Ebay that will make up for it.
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a b K Overclocking
July 16, 2011 1:39:45 AM

@ joshyboy82

Quote:
I did not adjust the voltage on processor. It is running at stock.

My actual overclock is 3.88Ghz. I rounded up because of the eight and to shorten writing it. I merely raised my clock ratio to 24x and my BCLK frequency to 162Mhz. Turbo boost is still enabled, though I doubt it gets used.


Thanks for the clarification. I understand why you rounded off the numbers and I'm fine with that.

When I looked at your member configuration it appears as thou you may have a straight OC with Turbo-Boost off. Under that situation a Vc increase would most likely be in order for stability. That is what got me concerned.

On a side note, if you do not have experience working with a particular platform and try to give advice you could easily mislead even when all you have is nothing but the best of intentions. :whistle: 

It seems the OP is going to upgrade making many of the recommendations for his current build moot. :??: 

I have only just recently aqcuired a 2500K and P67 M/BD so I can not really answer the last post from experience. I'll leave that to some one who has that platform answer his questions. :D 
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a b U Graphics card
July 16, 2011 7:40:13 AM

@arthurh
It's funding that limits me. The 2600k processor alone is already pushing my budget. In addition, I was only wondering if overclocking was worth it, of which has been well-answered in the first reply (I should mark this as the best answer). I wasn't intending on overclocking at all. I don't know how the RAM is. Finding a motherboard with 2 PS/2 ports seems hard enough as it is and if I don't have 2 PS/2 ports, my keyboard and/or mouse will be completely unusable. A lot of what I see only has 1 PS/2 port or none at all.

I haven't ordered the parts yet though so I still have time. Mail doesn't run on weekends so I essentially have 2 more days to finalize everything. There are a lot of motherboards available, though it's very difficult to find one with 2 PS/2 ports, mainly because you can't search or filter anything out that has this requirement. Out of 30 motherboards I've checked, only 2 had 2 PS/2 ports. Roughly 25 had just 1.
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a b U Graphics card
July 16, 2011 7:41:52 AM

Best answer selected by ulillillia.
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a b U Graphics card
July 16, 2011 12:30:17 PM

wolfram23 said:
True enough jsc, although if he goes with a 2600k, it's easy to get another 1000+mhz out of it which shows improvements. Although, in terms of video encoding, getting a Z68 chipset will allow you to use Quick Sync which makes video encoding go faster than anything else I've ever seen. Example:

http://media.bestofmicro.com/L/D/296257/original/APU%20Encoding.png


I've searched every motherboard without any regard to price or brand on Newegg for socket 1155 and the Z68 north bridge and absolutely none of them will work because of one thing - only a single PS/2 port (4 of which had zero). This issue is starting to become troublesome, making it difficult to find motherboards. This pretty much means I have no way I could use the Z68 north bridge unless I either have a splitter of sorts, or I have to choose between using only the keyboard or only the mouse, but not both (unless I frequently swap out cables every time I need to switch, of which will get very annoying very fast). Why only 1 PS/2 port instead of the usual 2 like I've seen for a very long time, that I don't know and was totally not expecting that. The motherboard I found is one of the very few that actually have 2 PS/2 ports. Is there another alternative that I'm unaware of (like some other North Bridge type that supports Quick Sync)? I may even need to use a different store than Newegg if all else.
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a c 224 K Overclocking
a b U Graphics card
July 16, 2011 2:19:24 PM

ulillillia said:
I've searched every motherboard without any regard to price or brand on Newegg for socket 1155 and the Z68 north bridge and absolutely none of them will work because of one thing - only a single PS/2 port (4 of which had zero). This issue is starting to become troublesome, making it difficult to find motherboards. This pretty much means I have no way I could use the Z68 north bridge unless I either have a splitter of sorts, or I have to choose between using only the keyboard or only the mouse, but not both (unless I frequently swap out cables every time I need to switch, of which will get very annoying very fast). Why only 1 PS/2 port instead of the usual 2 like I've seen for a very long time, that I don't know and was totally not expecting that. The motherboard I found is one of the very few that actually have 2 PS/2 ports. Is there another alternative that I'm unaware of (like some other North Bridge type that supports Quick Sync)? I may even need to use a different store than Newegg if all else.


Keyboards and mouse are heading for total legacy USB controlled, some M/Bs have already gone that route, if you're stuck on a particular KB or Mouse and it only has a PS2 connector get a PS2 to USB adapter.

Newegg has a few of them in stock.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16812119237&cm_re=PS2_to_USB_Adapter-_-12-119-237-_-Product
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a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 1:17:16 AM

I just realized that my current mouse is both PS/2 and USB compatible. My keyboard is not though so I guess I can go with 1 PS/2 port, of which opens up almost every motherboard as being a possibility. I've found a motherboard that suits my needs now that has Z68. It's $30 more though, the only downside. If I can make use of Quick Sync with this motherboard to seriously speed up video processing, I'll take it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - the new Z68 motherboard ($110)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - the same RAM as before ($40)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - still the most likely CPU (the i7-2600k; $315)
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a c 224 K Overclocking
a b U Graphics card
July 17, 2011 3:14:52 PM

ulillillia said:
I just realized that my current mouse is both PS/2 and USB compatible. My keyboard is not though so I guess I can go with 1 PS/2 port, of which opens up almost every motherboard as being a possibility. I've found a motherboard that suits my needs now that has Z68. It's $30 more though, the only downside. If I can make use of Quick Sync with this motherboard to seriously speed up video processing, I'll take it.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - the new Z68 motherboard ($110)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - the same RAM as before ($40)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - still the most likely CPU (the i7-2600k; $315)


I know the original title of this thread and this platform you're considering getting now Overclocking is definitely worth it, the motherboard you've chosen will run 2133 memory, I suggest you change your memory to 2133 @ 1.5v more like This.

I know it is more expensive, but it will give better overall performance even if you do not overclock, and if you do overclock, it will give you an advantage at the higher multipliers, so why limit yourself with the initial build.

If I was buying it, I'd spend the extra money for the faster memory, but it's your prospective build and money, and this is just a suggestion.

I never weighed in on your initial question, however with this platform you are considering, even non-overclockers are overclocking it, because it is so easy to overclock.

Most motherboards list 2133 speed as OC to get there, the M/B you've chosen does not, so it already has preset XMP to run the memory at 2133, sometimes you need to stretch your budget a little now, so you don't regret it later.

I'm done with my encouragement! Good Luck To You! Ryan
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a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2011 4:25:22 AM

Thanks Ryan. Unfortunately, I absolutely cannot spend any more at the moment (I have to get groceries yet) so I'm going to have to stick with the 1333 MHz memory for now (without overclocking being used). Due to the motherboard change to the Z68 series, adding $30 to begin with, I'm also going to have to get less RAM to compensate for this - 2 GB (I could do well with 1 GB - I'm hovering at 600 MB being used as I type this and I have a lot of things open). There's no point in getting more than 3 GB of RAM though, XP Pro SP3 cannot utilize it (a 32-bit OS). It's rare that ever go beyond 2 GB used anyway (a very long undo history for a fairly large image in The GIMP is the culprit for this). Since 800 MHz DDR2 RAM won't work with the i7-2600K processor, I have no choice but to get new RAM or I won't have a computer.

However, when August comes, I'll have more available and then I can get the 2133 MHz RAM, selling the single 2 GB stick on Ebay. Not only that, but I could also get a dedicated fan as well to further enhance the cooling (since, when overclocking (when I get there), cooling is important, especially considering my rather high room temperature (usually 24-26c)). Replacing the CPU and motherboard are not all that quick and easy. Replacing the RAM and CPU fan, however, are quick and easy so I can mostly skip out on those for now (using stock CPU fan though since a fan and heat sink are a must).

Remember, my original budget was only $300 and I've already pushed it nearly 50% more than that - I'm just short of $450:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - Z68 motherboard ($110 instead of $80)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - temporary RAM ($17 instead of $40 or $65 (yours has a fan to go with it at $100))
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... - i7-2600K processor ($315 instead of $220).

My original setup would've been $320 though now it's $442. At least this way, with the overclocking potential, I can sort of future proof my computer more, perhaps adding another year before I need to upgrade again. Down the road, I'll likely be needing to upgrade my video card and power supply as well. 500 watts is apparently 50% more than what OuterVision is recommending, a significant margin.
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a c 224 K Overclocking
a b U Graphics card
July 18, 2011 10:22:17 PM

^ I totally understand!

Eating is much more important than any computer upgrades, sorry to mention it.

Actually 2G of memory is the sweet spot for WinXP Pro 32bit, it runs fantastic on 2G.

Consider this instead of the single 2G module, you're getting a dual channel motherboard, 2 1G modules will run dual channel.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820148326

You can safely run 1.65v memory on your motherboard but no higher, so those modules are the same price, giving you dual channel capability.
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a b U Graphics card
July 19, 2011 3:40:27 AM

I've already ordered the parts. There was one oversight as well - my current CD/DVD burner is incompatible with the motherboard I'm getting. This is because the motherboard has no IDE ports and my current CD/DVD drive is IDE-based. I had to find a SATA drive or I won't be able to install any drivers, reinstall XP (if I have to and there's a fair chance I'll need to). Given this, it is a good thing I didn't go after the 2133 RAM and only went after a single stick (I didn't see 1 GB sticks or I'd have gotten one of those).

I'll be going with 4 GB of RAM in the long run - there are times, though rare, where I need more than 2 GB. Large images (4+ MP) and a long undo history is usually the case for that. I haven't had a need for over 3 GB yet.

I may upgrade to Windows 7 or something much later on (probably 2 years down the road) where I could make use of over 4 GB of RAM, but, then again, it's rare that I ever need to go beyond 2 GB. I do go above 1 GB, but even then, it's still not all that common (far more common than going above 2 GB though).
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July 19, 2011 4:38:38 AM

You can buy sata/ide adapters fairly cheap, i don't have a link to one now but i got one from a local pc store for about $15 when i made the same oversight on a build a couple years back. Also another alternative is if you have an IDE based external hdd you can take off the casing remove the HDD and use that IDE connection to the DVD player and just plug in with USB, i had to do this once to install software on a netbook which didn't have a CD drive.
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a b U Graphics card
July 19, 2011 6:43:03 AM

I've already ordered a replacement CD/DVD writer so it's too late. Thanks for the info though. At least it'll be faster than the one I have now - 24x instead of 16x (for DVD+/-R). 24x disks are another subject though.
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